By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Virginia – If you’re planning on buying tickets for Old Dominion’s highly anticipated home opener against Virginia Tech on September 2, the math is simple.
You can spend up to $471 to purchase a ticket from a secondary ticket seller, such as StubHub or VividSeats. Once you have paid for the ticket, including the service charge, you have a ticket for a game.
Or you can spend as little as $150 on an ODU subscription and have tickets to six home games, including not only Tech, but also James Madison, Marshall, Liberty, Georgia Southern and Arkansas State.
You don’t have to be a Pythagorean to know what the best deal is, or that now is the time to buy subscriptions.
The subscription renewal deadline passed on Sunday and very soon ODU will be opening up hundreds of premium seats that we had reserved for existing subscribers, many of whom have increased the number of tickets they have purchased.
The ODU box office held these seats for a reason. Season ticket holders, including those in premium seats, provide the bulk of the revenue that funds the Monarch football program. In return, the University wants to ensure that it shows as much loyalty to season ticket holders as it does to ODU.
An aside here: if you still want to renew your tickets, you have a few days to do so. But by Monday, May 9, your seats will be available for others to purchase.
If you renewed your tickets, chances are you paid less than last season, in some cases much less. ODU has waived membership fees at unpopular seats.
Although some ticket prices have increased, 80% of secondary seats are cheaper than they were last season.
Some second deck seats on the 50-yard line will soon be available for $300 and they will sell out fast.
I upgraded my two seats from $150 to $215 and am in a much better location. Yes, I sit in the press box during the matches. I give my tickets to my family and friends.
But buying tickets now is also an investment in my future. Eventually, I will retire and I will be back in the stands. I also know that ODU football will once again become the toughest ticket in town.
Season ticket sales have increased significantly from last season when ODU sold 7,200. 200 tickets last week.
Although SB Ballard Stadium can accommodate 21,944 people, thousands of tickets are reserved for students, visiting teams, players, coaches and their families. This means that ODU has 14,600 subscriptions to sell.
With four months until kick-off, the chances are pretty good that the stadium will sell out before tickets go on sale to the general public. Even if they don’t sell out, no single match tickets will be available for the Tech game and possibly JMU as well.
Season ticket holders have priority when purchasing single-game tickets, and as was the case in 2018, officials are confident Tech tickets will sell out quickly to season ticket holders.
It’s no secret why ticket sales are up – the product on the pitch is much better, as is the schedule.
Coach Ricky Rahn is a nice guy who shows up at countless college and alumni events and is popular among the fanbase. And last season, his monarchs won their last five regular season games and qualified for a bowl game for the first time in five years.
ODU is returning 18 starters and Rahne has not only recruited well from high school players but also has key commitments from transfer portal players to positions where the Monarchs need help.
The schedule is also much more attractive as ODU will play its first season as part of the Sun Belt Conference.
As Rahne said at a recent coaching forum, ODU fans couldn’t quite feel enough emotion to hate Conference USA schools.
I love and respect the people of Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, UTEP and FIU, but the schools are so far from Norfolk that rivalries never developed.
I wouldn’t quite call it hate, but there’s already quite a bit of emotion between ODU and JMU fans.
JMU is a three-hour drive away and gives ODU its first in-state conference rival in a decade.
ODU won the only two football games against the Dukes in the old CAA in 2011 and 2012. And although they haven’t played in 10 years, the exchanges between ODU and JMU fans online have been fiery.
The Sun Belt has many programs that fans will learn to get excited about. Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and Georgia State — ODU plays all three on the road next season — come to mind. ODU and Georgia State are former CAA rivals.
ODU already has a great rivalry with Marshall. The Monarch faithful happily celebrated a 38-14 win over the Herd in 2016. The Monarchs haven’t beaten Marshall since – they lost in overtime last season at Huntington.
And then there’s Virginia Tech.
The Hokies are 2-1 against ODU and the loss came on Tech’s last visit to ODU – a surprise 49-35 win in 2018 against a nationally ranked team that still resonates with Monarch loyalists . The post-game celebration is something all of us who were there will never forget.
Neither did the Hokies.
This year’s game is the first of 10 between the Hokies and Monarchs over the next 10 seasons.
Wake Forest is coming to ODU in 2023. Virginia will open the 2028 season at ODU.
East Carolina, the closest FBS program to Norfolk, is on the schedule for six of the next 10 seasons.
As Rahne said during the Coaches Forum, “If you want to watch great Virginia football, SB Ballard Stadium is going to have it.”
And tickets are going fast.